If your Labrador is clingy you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what can be done about it.
So, why is my Labrador so clingy? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, it wants attention, it was mistreated when it was younger, you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior or that it does it naturally.
There are a number of possible causes of your Labrador being clingy and there are a number of things that you can consider to help figure out why it does it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why your Labrador is so clingy
Below are a number of reasons why it might be being clingy and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It was mistreated when it was younger
The reason why your Labrador is clingy could be that it was mistreated when it was younger and it does not like being left alone now. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might start to become less clingy as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If it is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
It has separation anxiety
It could also be the case that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if your Labrador starts being anxious when you are about to leave it.
In this case, it would help to try to reduce how anxious it becomes when it is alone. You can watch the video below for some tips.
Labradors were bred to work alongside their owners for hours on a daily basis. With that being the case, it is to be expected that it will look to you a lot for direction. This is why it is important to give Labradors training so that they know what is expected of them.
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for extra attention from you. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, exercising it and playing with it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention for being clingy unless necessary.
You have been reinforcing the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to do it by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it will likely do it more.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it is clingy.
Things to consider
When your Labrador started being clingy
If your Labrador was not always clingy, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
Things that could have happened could include:
- You moved home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
- Your schedule changed
If it has always been very clingy then it would be more likely to be due to its nature or wanting attention.
When it becomes clingy
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to be more clingy since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to become clingy when you would normally leave for work, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your Labrador being clingy
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to be less clingy.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your Labrador when it displays them.
To use it to get your Labrador to be less clingy you would stop giving it attention when it is too clingy and then reward it when it shows signs of being less clingy.
You could also train it to sit or stay and then tell it to sit somewhere else when it starts being clingy.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have inadvertently trained your Labrador to be clingy. Instead of giving it things it wants when it is clingy, try to use positive reinforcement training and to redirect its focus when it starts being clingy.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to train it, exercise it and to play with it.
Give it lots of exercise
It would also help to give it daily exercise so that it is fully stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for adult Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy.